Lakers legend calls Bam Adebayo most underrated player in NBA

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At least one all-time great NBA player believes Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo is the most underrated player in the NBA.

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Jerry West appeared on “The Rich Eisen Show” and made his case for why he believes Adebayo is the league’s most underrated player.

“I think Bam Adebayo in Miami is really good,” West said. “He plays every night. He competes every night. He gets numbers every night, and you can write him in. A coach loves a player that goes out there every night, and he fills the stat sheet up. But even if he doesn’t, say, score on some nights, he’s still going to help them win because of his value to his team. And he doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but I really think he’s a terrific player myself.”

Adebayo, 26, was selected with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and has played six seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the storied Heat franchise.

He averaged a career-high 20.4 points to go along with 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game across 75 appearances during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts). These numbers were good enough for Adebayo to earn an All-Star nod, the second of his pro career, and an All-Defensive Second Team nod.

The 6-foot-9 center carried over his excellent play from the 2022-23 regular season into the 2023 postseason. He was Miami’s second-best player during its run to the NBA Finals, behind only wing Jimmy Butler. Adebayo averaged 17.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 23 playoff games and shot 48.1 percent from the field.

The 26-year-old center saved his best basketball of the 2023 postseason for the NBA Finals against Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets. He was arguably Miami’s best player during the championship series, as he averaged a double-double of 21.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per contest. Adebayo’s heroics weren’t enough for the Heat to win the series, though, as the Nuggets eliminated them in five games.

Considering Adebayo’s two-way impact a season ago for a Heat team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals, he has a great argument for being the most underrated player in the NBA. Here’s to hoping that Adebayo will follow up his 2022-23 regular season with an even better 2023-24 regular season.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.